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Autism Welcome Here GrantPRESS RELEASE
August, 2019

Grants Awarded to Oceanside Public Library to serve families with autism and the Evelyn Hanshaw Middle School Library to serve teens with autism The "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More" Grant Committee is proud to announce the Oceanside Public Library in Oceanside, California and the Evelyn Hanshaw Middle School Library in Modesto, California as this year's grant recipients. As the winners of these grants, the Oceanside Public Library will receive $4000 for their project "Autism-Friendly Lending Library and Family Events" and the Evelyn Hanshaw Middle School Library will receive $1000 for their project "Team Titans Club."

The "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More" Grant is sponsored by Libraries and Autism: We're Connected ( and funded by the grant's creator, retired librarian Barbara Klipper. This grant honors the memory of Meg Kolaya and her groundbreaking work as co-founder of Libraries and Autism, as well as her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries and the autism community, and bringing awareness to the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Oceanside Public Library will implement an Autism-Friendly Lending Library Collection that will support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), their parents, caregivers, and educators. The circulating collection will include books and resources relating to ASD, therapeutic toys, assistive technology, and speech and language card sets. The Library will also host and create autism-friendly events, assistive technology workshops, outreach to local elementary school special education classrooms, and biweekly sensory storytimes designed to be inclusive of children with autism based on best practices learned in staff workshops.

Marie Town, Principal Librarian in Youth Services at the Oceanside Public Library says, "Oceanside Public Library is thrilled to be a recipient of the Autism Welcome Here grant! The Library is excited for this opportunity which will greatly improve access to much needed resources and support for families, provide Library staff and volunteers with a better understanding of how to create more inclusive and beneficial services, and help children with autism spectrum disorder and their families feel more welcome in the Oceanside community. Library staff look forward to continuing to learn, developing supportive partnerships and getting to know better the families that we are here to serve, as this new project is implemented!"

The Evelyn Hanshaw Middle School Library will develop an inclusive Team Titans Club. Students with and without ASD will meet during lunch periods every other week for a program led by the teacher librarian and special education teacher. Students will form teams and keep track of their scores, which will be displayed on the large television monitor in the Library. Student teams will play non-technology games such as Keva Planks, 3D puzzles, and Minute to Win It. The program's primary goal is to provide students with ASD an opportunity to work on their social skills and build new relationships.

"We are excited and thankful for this opportunity to build friendships and social skills among our amazing student population!," said Rachel Knoepfle, M.Ed., Teacher, SDC-SH and Sherry Chapman, M.A., Teacher Librarian at Hanshaw Middle School.

The "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services, and More" Grant Committee extends their congratulations to Oceanside Public Library, Evelyn Hanshaw Middle School Library, and to all of the libraries that submitted proposals.

Applications for the 2020 grant(s) will be accepted starting September 1, 2019. More information about the grant can be found at

Members of the 2019 "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services, and More" Grant Committee are Daniel Flores (2017 - 2019); Barbara Klipper (2016 - 2019); Adria Nassim (2016 - 2019); Suzanne Schriar (2016 - 2019); Jen Taggart (2018 - 2019); Debra Vines (2016 - 2019); and Dan Weiss (2016 - 2019).

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